A friend of mine switches from martinis to Manhattans after Labor Day and back to martinis again come spring. A lot of people are equally as regimented when it comes to sparkling wine. They drink it around the holidays and at weddings and celebrations. The other 10 or 11 months of the year must really be boring for them, or that’s what I assume.
We drink sparkling wine regularly in our house, often on a Friday or Saturday evening, but on the occasional Tuesday as well. (Just because.) Sometimes it’s a value, sometimes a splurge. A favorite recently has been the Iron Horse Classic Brut 2005.
I’ve been drinking Iron Horse bubbly for the better part of 20 years, and the new releases are some of the best yet. The house style is generally more sleek and crisp than most California sparkling wines—and downright austere in recent vintages—but winemaker David Munksgard achieved a great balance with the 2005 Classic Brut. It offers crisp flavors of apple and citrus fruit with notes of pear and floral aromas of fresh almonds and yeasty brown spices. I rated it 91 points, non-blind. It equals many of the best non-vintage Champagnes but carries an excellent price of $33.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Iron Horse Brut Green Valley of Russian River Valley Classic Vintage 2005 (92, $33).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among sparkling wines from around the world.